Eating 12 helpings of tomatoes per week, especially cooked tomatoes, provides lycopene, an antioxidant that blocks the prostate cancer cell’s ability to burn glutamate, can attack cancer stem cells and cut blood fats, providing an 18% reduction of prostate cancer risk.
Tomatoes are a fundamental food in the colourful Mediterranean Diet – the Rainbow Diet.
Researchers at Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol Universities compared the lifestyles of 1,806 men with prostate cancer to 12,005 men without. All were between ages 50 and 69 (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention).
Previous research from Harvard Medical School had shown that 12 helpings a week reduced prostate cancer risk.
This NIHR-funded study looked at selenium, calcium and tomatoes, which had all been found previously to make a positive contribution to prostate health. The key finding was that there was an 18% reduction in risk of prostate cancer, in men who ate over 10 portions of tomatoes per week.
Tomatoes and tomato products (from sauce to baked beans) contain lycopene, which is not only a powerful anti-oxidant but reduces fat levels in the blood stream. Cooked tomatoes are the best source as they more readily release lycopene.
The importance of reducing blood fats in prostate cancer was also found in a separate study for statins – atorvastatin could reduce blood fats and increase prostate cancer survival.
Given the choice between a natural compound, lycopene, and a drug – a statin – this seems to be an easy choice to make.